Consumer advocates and the media have commented in recent years on the need for transparency and disclosure of financial interests related to payments made to physicians by pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers. They suggest such payments can potentially create conflicts of interest.
In response to this concern, Senators Chuck Grassley (R-lowa) and Herb Kohl (D-VMs.) introduced the Physician Payments Sunshine Act of 2007. The senators conducted investigations that revealed potential conflicts of interest in the relationships between physicians and drug and device manufacturers. In 2009, the senators reintroduced the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, and on March 23, 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act of 2009 (the "Act") was signed into law.